United in Cure

In Uncategorized on October 5, 2009 at 1:09 am

Watching NFL games yesterday, one couldn’t help but notice players wearing pink cleats, gloves, and/or wristbands. You see the sidelines and coaches donned their respective team’s cap, but with a pink bill. October marks Breast Cancer Awareness Month–the National Breast Cancer Awareness Month program (NBCAM) is celebrating 25 years of “fill[ing] the information void in public communication about breast cancer.” What initially began as a weeklong event of handing out brochures and other materials now has morphed into 1) a month-long recognition of our continued fight against breast cancer, and 2) a year-round campaign to combat the disease.

This disease does not discriminate; it has no respect of persons. Yet, African American women seem to disproportionately suffer from Triple-Negative breast cancer. Triple-Negative breast cancer, an aggressive form of breast cancer, is rather new to the breast cancer diagnoses and literature. What is Triple-Negative breast cancer? As found on the Triple-Negative Breast Cancer Foundation website, breast cancer is no longer one type of cancer, but “subtypes of breast cancer…generally diagnosed based upon the presence, or lack of, three ‘receptors’ known to fuel most breast cancers: estrogen receptors, progesterone receptors and human epidermal growth factor receptor 2 (HER2).” According to one study found that “Black women in the U.S. have an overall lower risk of developing breast cancer overall than their white peers, but their cancers are diagnosed at a higher stage, with a greater risk of recurrence and worse prognosis.” In this same study, African American women were three times as likely to be diagnosed with Triple-Negative breast cancer.

In the 25 years since the NBCAM, there are countless organizations, studies, researchers, doctors, and I can continue, devoted to eradicating this disease. The more we know, the likelihood of defeating the disease increases. Perhaps the best defense is a good offense–in this case, our offense is strategically centered on prevention.

Click here for additional reading on African Americans and breast cancer.


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